To address student homelessness, LBCC launched on Oct. 25 a pilot Safe Parking Program to provide a secure location for eligible students to stay overnight.
The program is “the only known program of its kind in the region at a community college,” according to LBCC’s statement.
“Our goal for this program is that it will serve as a pathway to housing stability for our students,” said Uduak-Joe Ntuk, president of LBCC Board of Trustees.
“These students would otherwise have to be worrying nightly about their vehicles being broken into, trying not to be seen or bothered, and not having the police called on them, all while keeping up with their coursework. It could be an exhausting situation that makes it more difficult to get ahead.”
LBCC currently has about 70 students sleeping in their vehicles every night, according to Mike Muñoz, interim superintendent-president of the Long Beach Community College District.
“If we can help to keep our students safe so they can better focus on their student responsibilities, this program is absolutely worth pursuing. Our goal at LBCC is always to remove barriers that get in the way of our student’s success,” said Muñoz.
To be eligible for the program, available from Oct. 25, 2021, to June 30, 2022, participants must be single adults, as they are not allowed to live in their cars with partners or children.
Homeless students can access Pacific Coast Campus Parking Structure between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., seven days a week.
Meanwhile, LBCC staff will provide support in seeking long-term housing for these students.
Besides the pilot program, LBCC also founded the Basic Needs Office a few years ago to provide food and other assistance for its students.
According to the most recent UCLA study, about 20 percent of community college students in California lack a fixed nighttime residence.
That number for California State schools is 10 percent, and for University of California campuses, 5 percent, according to the study.
In addition to college students, over 269,000 K–12 students in California are experiencing homelessness. Overall student homelessness figures have risen 50 percent in the last decade, according to the study.